Massive Protests Erupt in Ukraine

Citizens deeply outraged by government’s decision not to sign deal with EU

Massive protests have rocked the Ukrainian capital of Kiev over the government’s opposition not to sign a deal forging closer EU ties.

A huge rally triggered clashes between police and demonstrators in the city. Reports of violence are making headlines around the world as police used tear gas to counter demonstrators who were advancing on police lines and throwing large stones.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have stormed the city to launch a huge rally.

Many Outraged By Current Government’s Decision

The protesters are demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych’s government and slammed the Administration’s decision not to sign a deal that would bring closer ties with the European Union.

Vladimir Putin and Leonid Kuchma in December 2003.

Local media said the protests started two weeks ago after President Yanukovych delayed preparations on signing an EU tie agreement that would have opened borders to goods and easing of travel restrictions.

President Yanukovych argued that Ukraine could not afford to sacrifice trade with Russia, which greatly opposed the deal.

US Condemns The Violence Against Ukrainian Demonstrators

In a press statement in Washingto DC, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said the United States condemns the violence by government authorities against peaceful demonstrators in Kiev today.

“We urge Ukraine’s leaders to respect their people’s right to freedom of expression and assembly.” – Ms. Psaki

She underlined that respecting people’s rights is fundamental to a healthy democracy and the respect for universal values on which the United States’ partnership with Ukraine depends.

With the ongoing violence engulfing the country’s capital, the US said that consistent with the principles embodied by the OSCE, it calls on the Government of Ukraine to foster a positive environment for civil society and to protect the rights of all Ukrainians to express their views on their country’s future in a constructive and peaceful manner in Kiev and in other parts of the country.

Ms. Psaki said violence and intimidation should have no place in today’s Ukraine.

Psaki said the US continues to support the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to achieve a prosperous European democracy. She also said the US asserts that European integration is the surest course to economic growth and strengthening Ukraine’s democracy.

Ukraine-Russia relations were established in 1991 during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Both countries were founding constituent republics.

Russia has an embassy in Kiev and consulates in Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa and Simferopol. Ukraine has an embassy in Moscow and consulates in Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen and Vladivostok.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.